Analyzing the Character Cookie Monster in the Sesame Street Show

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The Cookie Monster is a classic children’s character from the long-running show “Sesame Street”. He has spent the majority of the last 47 years on air scarfing down cookies like it’s nobody’s business. Those cookies have contributed heavily to the many awards the show has won. These cookies may as well be worth millions of dollars. Now imagine this extraordinarily successful show without cookies, or without a monster to devour them, do you still think it would be successful? This iconic character has been called the Cookie Monster for decades and has always been known to demolish any cookies in sight, that may as well be the one thing that anybody can tell you about Sesame Street. Back in 2005, there was a moment in time when the Cookie Monster momentarily was considered to transform into the Veggie Monster, a healthier individual who only liked cookies sometimes. Why change such a highly successful format and character?

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Childhood obesity is the condition assigned to a child that is well above the normal weight for their age and/or height. This was the original intent behind the alleged Veggie Monster transformation. Childhood obesity went through much higher shift in the early 21st century than in previous times, and the creators of Sesame Street thought that children seeing their favorite Monster eating cookies all the time helped contribute to the problem at hand. But stop and think about this, where are the parents? Why is it that as a society, it seems we need to rely on a blue googly-eyed monster that eats cookies, to teach our children what to eat and in what moderation? So the theory was that if they told the Cookie Monster to eat healthier, i.e. more fruits and vegetables, the children that watch him would follow suit, and that would lead to healthier children.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your opinion, this change was never fully processed. What did happen, is that in 2005, the Cookie Monster began eating more fruits and vegetables, but would still devour cookies like no tomorrow. The change was blown up by media sources to claim that the Cookie Monster was entirely converting to a no-cookie diet, which was entirely untrue. The Cookie Monster actually had an appearance on The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert in 2008 where he discussed his new diet. He comes on the show and completely sets the record straight by proclaiming he still absolutely loves cookies, but understands that “cookies are a sometimes food”. He then proceeds to fight with Colbert over the need to eat healthy foods before eating cookies, which Colbert obviously acting like a hungry child that loves cookies.

You have to wonder though, what if he really did become the Veggie Monster, what would be the consequences for PBS and their profits from Sesame Street? Would children really follow suit with their hero Cookie Monster, or would they shy away from the “Veggie Monster”? What about the children that grew up in the 80s watching Sesame Street and the Cookie Monster, when they see that he has betrayed cookies for vegetables, what will they think, will they want their children watch a liar? Would people really still watch Sesame Street if they knew that they had a flat out liar in their main cast? A young camper of mine, Sadie, used to watch Sesame Street when she was younger, but when she saw him start eating healthy, she felt betrayed and refused to watch the show anymore. This is just one example of the effects of changing such an American icon that is regularly exposed to our nation’s youth. Now imagine that on a grand scale, millions of children feeling betrayed that their hero has suddenly changed their whole mindset, that is a site I never wish to see.

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